27 hours of labor
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 23
The day before Thanksgiving was a busy day at the office. Last minute appointments filled the day before the holiday weekend began. My schedule had been dwindling down for the past three months, so I was seeing less than 10 patients a day at this point. I was finishing some paperwork up front with our employee Kaycee. I kept getting a pain in my lower abdomen. It wasn’t timable at all, but I caught myself noticing it on and off throughout the day. I never once thought it was prodromal labor. I had read that labor contractions would wrap around your back and around your belly. I never had any lower back pain with contractions. I brushed it off and continued about my day.
Later that night Ryan and I went to a nice steak house. We ordered a blooming onion and ribs, which were to die for. At this point, it was around 8:30pm, I had mentioned to Ryan that I kept feeling this pain on and off in my stomach. I jokingly said I think I’m going into labor. He didn’t take me seriously, and I didn’t even take myself seriously because it was still two weeks before her due date. I had read that most first time moms go past their due dates, so there was just absolutely no way I could go into labor this early. So Ryan made plans with a friend and took me home. I went to bed early like I usually did because by the end of a long day at work I was beat. I told Ryan, please don’t drink tonight because I think I’m going into labor. He had heard that phrase a million times by this point, so he just kind of laughed and said ok.
I knew labor was imminent because just the day before I went to my OB appointment, and she informed me that I was 1 cm dilated. At this point I was 38 weeks pregnant and she asked me if I would like her to strip my membranes. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I agreed. It was very uncomfortable and I had quite of bit of spotting that day. Wednesday morning when I woke up I expelled my mucus plug. I didn’t think anything of that because I wasn’t having contractions and my water hadn’t broken. I read that it could still be weeks after losing your mucus plug for labor to start. I kept this news to myself because I didn’t want to set off any false alarms.
Come to find out this wasn’t a false alarm. Ryan had made it home around mid-night and I was in and out of sleep. I told Ryan I had been having regular contractions since he left, but they were mild. I was able to lay down and sleep through them so I did not inform him to come home early. Something kicked into high gear when he got home. He went to sleep and I woke up. I could no longer sleep through the contractions. They were coming every five minutes and were lasting about 50 seconds. They seemed to be getting stronger, and I started to have some heavy spotting. I woke Ryan up at 5:00 am and we headed to the hospital to see what was going on. I had been up all night and I thought for sure the baby would be here soon. They informed me that I was indeed having regular contractions; and that I was only dilated 2 cm. They checked me an hour later and I was dilated 3 cm. That is major progress I thought. The doctor asked me if I would like him to break my water to speed things up, and I declined. I wanted to see how things would progress naturally. I had hoped for an all-natural birth with no drugs.
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 24
I text my mom early Thanksgiving day to tell her the news. They admitted us to our room and my parents were on their way. My mom didn’t think they would make it to the delivery since I had progressed from a 2-3 so quickly and they still had an 8 hour drive. Man was she wrong. I labored and labored and labored. Things seemed to slow down and the contractions weren’t as intense. I was still having regular contractions every five minutes, but they were not dilating my cervix. At this point it was 1:00 in the afternoon on Thanksgiving day. I was so sleep deprived, and in a lot of pain every five minutes, but they sent me home. They said to come back if the contractions get longer, stronger, and closer together. I was unable to sleep because of the pain. So I just went home and labored.
My parents got there around dinner time. My mom had fought her way through the black Friday shoppers to buy some Thanksgiving dinner groceries. She made a full Thanksgiving dinner in an hour (two pies, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, the works) It wasn’t your typical homemade Thanksgiving dinner, but it was good enough. I ate one bite of a roll, but was unable to really eat at this point. Everyone else ate their dinner while I rolled around on the floor and bounced on the ball between contractions. My mom, a retired OB nurse thought it was time to head back to the hospital.
The car ride was the longest worst ride ever. I was tired, unable to eat, and in tremendous pain. We got to the hospital and the triage nurse was not the most pleasant person to me at the time. I told her how long I had been in labor and how my cervix had progressed. Before even checking me she told me that I was in prodromal labor, and that it could go on for weeks. I was not in the mood to hear something like that, because there was absolutely no way I could handle this type of pain every 3-5 minutes for a few more weeks. I was about to ask for a new nurse when my doctor came in. He had heard I was back and he wanted to check me- thank God! He checked me and said I was 4.5 cm. YAY!! He said I had progressed enough, and he believed I was in active labor. He said he would now break my water if I wanted to get things moving. I agreed, but first needed some pain relief. After 12 hours of labor with no breaks, no sleep, and no food; I needed a break. I got the epidural right away. If there is one thing I was thankful for on Thanksgiving it was epidurals. As soon as the medication kicked in I finally got some relief and rest. I didn’t even feel pressure of the contractions once the epidural started dripping. I was able to get some much needed sleep.
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 25
I slept for 12 hours straight, only to wake up when they flipped me or the machines started beeping. I didn’t feel a thing and I was sleeping so good. The nurse came in to check me at 4:00am and she told me I was dilated to a 9 and that the baby would be here soon. An hour later the nurse thought it was time to push. I never got the urge to push because I literally couldn’t feel a thing. The nurse went to get my doctor. Luckily my doctor was on a 24 hour shift so I had the same doctor the entire time. He was amazing. He made it into the room and told me when to push. I only pushed for 20 minutes and Ava was born at 5:18am on Friday November 25th. She was 21 inches long and weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces. That’s a pretty big baby for arriving two weeks early.